Barcelona icon Xavi has today been linked with a sensational £20 million move to Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
The Spanish pass master has been at the heart of everything good Barcelona have done in recent years, and helped form the core of the team that carried the Catalan club to three successive Spanish league titles and two Champions League trophies.
Of course there is little chance of the move actually happening – Barcelona are currently preparing a contract extension for the 32-year-old – but football’s history is littered with audacious bids that never quite made it over the line.
In honour of those clubs who make transfer windows worthwhile with their outlandish attempts to snap up the world’s best players, GMF runs down the five most famous failed bids. Enjoy.
Kaka to Manchester City, 2009
Brazilian forward Kaka was on the verge of joining Manchester City in a world record £91 million pound deal in 2009. The nouveau riche Premier League outfit were even offering an astounding £500,000-per-week wage packet; who could turn that down, right?
Kaka, that’s who. The move fell through when the Brazilian forward informed the Citizens he had no plans to leave AC Milan and wans’t interested in the money. City fans were forced to settle for landing Craig Bellamy instead while City chief Garry Cook famously accused Kaka of ‘bottling it’.
Robinho to Chelsea, 2008
Chelsea were so certain they had wrapped up a deal to sign Robinho they even put replica shirts on their official website – only for fate to deal them a cruel blow.
City snatched the Brazilian from under their noses on deadline day in 2008 for £32.5 million. After missing out on Robinho, Chelsea issued a statement saying they were unable to agree a deal with Real as they were not prepared to pay the Spanish club's asking price. They still managed to find over £16 million to pay for Jose Bosingwa, mind.
Steven Gerrard to Chelsea, 2004-2005
Chelsea were in the thick of the action back in 2004 and 2005, as they tried and failed to sign Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard.
Jose Mourinho was desperate to land Gerrard in order to help Chelsea’s push for European glory, only for the Liverpool man to change his mind over a switch at the last minute.
Gearrard recently revealed that not only did Chelsea want him, but also Manchester United and later Real Madrid.
“People only really heard about it with Mourinho and Chelsea in 2004 and 2005. But it has happened a few times," he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“It was flattering back then because the two best managers (Mourinho and Ferguson) around wanted me to play in their teams.
'Gary Neville said he (Ferguson) wanted me. But you understand that playing for Manchester United would have been impossible. I never would have wanted to play for Manchester United. They are a fantastic club but that rivalry is there, and it’s why Gary could not have played for us either.
‘He (Mourinho) came back when he arrived at Real Madrid two years ago. I look at some players who get interest from clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona and they cause absolute wars to get out and get there. But that has never been me and, again, it just wasn’t going to happen.’
Neymar to Manchester United, 2012
Manchester United got in on the act of launching an ultimately doomed last-gasp bid, with Neymar reportedly the object of their affections in the most recent summer window.
United are said to have offered £38 million for the Brazilian sensation in the dying minutes of deadline day, only to be knocked back by his club, Santos.
The bid always seemed doomed to fail, namely because it was recently revealed that Barcelona have already paid €10 million up front for the talented youngster.
Cristiano Ronaldo to Arsenal, 2003
Although United may have missed out on Neymar they got lucky with Cristiano Ronaldo after Arsenal passed up their chance to land the Portuguese winger.
Ronaldo’s agent recently revealed the Gunners were in the running for his signature long before United finally made their move in 2003, but allowed their rivals to snap him up because they took to long to lodge their bid.
Arsene Wenger also missed out on landing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but he insists he’s not bitter about it. Yeah, right.
'He (Ibrahimovic) was here at the training ground and went somewhere else,’ the Frenchaman said last week.
“That has happened to many players - Ronaldo was here, Ibrahimovic was here. It does not mean they sign for you. The story is true I wanted to see him.
“I did not know him, you cannot sign players you have not seen at all because it is not serious.
'He was 16. I asked him to have a little training session with the first team and he didn't want to do it.